Media alert — A second case of a child tumbling from the ladder of a high diving board prompts this warning
The Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC warns parents about the dangers of high diving boards in areas designated for public use. This warning is prompted by a second child in three weeks to fall from a three-metre board. The nine-year-old sustained a traumatic head injury when he lost his footing and fell backwards from the ladder.
This incident occurred on Tuesday. The child is in stable condition and is recovering in hospital, where he is being cared for by Trauma Program specialists. Earlier this summer, a seven-year-old who fell from a 3 m board sustained very serious head injuries and died.
The head of the Children's Trauma Program, Debbie Friedman, is recommending high diving boards be off limits to younger children until municipalities and recreational centres review the safety of these diving boards for recreational purposes. "We have had two serious traumas in a short period of time; we need to ensure our children are safe. This is a piece of equipment that needs to be respected and is not a toy. We don't need 20 more tragedies before making changes. Diving boards should only be used following proper instruction and with trained supervision," says Friedman.
Friedman notes it is most often a series of factors that contributes to such traumatic events. She strongly recommends the safety of the boards be looked at, including: the design and surface of the board, angle of the ladder, footing on the ladder stairs, presence of handrails, surrounding surfaces and proximity of supervision. In addition, she emphasizes that before allowing a child to use a high diving board the child's age, size, level of instruction and developmental abilities be considered to determine if it is altogether an appropriate activity. Friedman also recommends a similar assessment of some of the older pool slides still in use. "Until the safety of high diving boards for public use is reviewed and recommendations implemented, parents should think twice about allowing their children or themselves to climb those steps," says Friedman.